I’ve mentioned, on several occasions, that we have a great source for (somewhat local) grass fed lamb. We bought all of their remaining ground lamb supply and have been enjoying it ever since. This is one of my favorite uses for the ground lamb, and it’s a nice change from regular beef burgers. The burgers are simply seasoned and finished with traditional Tzatziki sauce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a little extra feta cheese. I served them in pita bread with a side Greek salad. We have great Greek restaurants (Coney Islands) near us, so I usually just buy the Tzatziki sauce (Trader Joe’s also has a good version). I’ve included a good recipe for Tzatziki sauce, but it’s really best if you make it at least a day in advance. (Serves 6)
- 2 Lbs. Ground Lamb
- 4 Oz. Feta Cheese – plus a little extra for garnish
- 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 4 TBS. Fresh (or 2 TBS. dried) Oregano- chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 Pieces of Pita Bread – cut in half
- 1 Tomato- thinly sliced
- 1/4 White, Red, or Sweet Onion- thinly sliced
- 1/4 English (seedless) Cucumber – thinly sliced
- 6 Slices Fresh Green or Red Leaf Lettuce
For the Tzatziki Sauce:
- 1/2 Cup Greek Style Yogurt – strained*
- 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 English (seedless) Cucumber – peeled, seeded and sweated**
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 TBS. Olive Oil
- 2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Cloves Garlic – chopped
- 1/2 tsp. Pepper
- 2 tsp. Fresh dill
Prepare the Tzatziki sauce: Strain the yogurt by placing a coffee filter in a colander and placing over a bowl; add the the yogurt to the filter and allow to sit for about 5 minutes until liquid strains off. *Chop the peeled, seeded cucumber, place in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with the salt, allow to sit for 30 minutes- this will sweat out the excess water from the cucumber. In a food processor, combine cucumber, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper and dill and process for a few seconds until cucumber is finely chopped, but not pureed. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and strained yogurt and mix well. Add cucumber mixture. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Let rest in refrigerator for as long as possible.
In a non-reactive mixing bowl, combine ground lamb, garlic, oregano, and feta cheese. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated, but do not overmix. Divide meat mixture into six portions and form into 1/2 moon shaped burgers (you can form into regular burger shapes, but the 1/2 moon shapes will fill out the pita bread better). Season burgers with salt and pepper. Grill* over medium heat until cooked to desired doneness (I like the burgers cooked medium, without too much pink). Put burgers into pita bread and garnish with onion, tomato, and cucumber slices. Add additional crumbled feta cheese and tzatziki sauce.
Enjoy with a side of Greek Salad or Rice Pilaf.
* You could broil or even pan sear the burgers if you prefer.